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Paranormal Activity 3 Review

  • Release Date: Oct 21, 2011
  • Rated: Some violence, language, brief sexuality and drug use
  • Runtime: 1 hr. 21 min.
  • Genres: Horror, Suspense/Thriller
  • Director:Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost Critics


Dave White Profile

Call that demonologist already. Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

Third time's a charm. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The scares (if you want to call them that) are still there - one "boo!" moment after another, strung together like a breadcrumb trail through a labyrinth. So if that's all you want from a Halloween release like Paranormal Activity 3, you are the perfect audience member.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Paranormal Activity 3 delivers similarly eerie moments, though long stretches go by where nothing truly ominous occurs.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    The films are not works of genius. They are, however, wily reminders of the virtues of restraint when you're out for a scare.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Frank Scheck

    Although not exactly breaking any new ground with its by now all too familiar found-footage format, Paranormal Activity 3 hews to the formula in expertly crafted fashion, mustering up the requisite scares and then some.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The bottom line, for me, is this: I don't scare easily at horror films, but I watched Paranormal Activity 3 in a state of high anxiety.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Paranormal Activity 3 reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Slightly more violent prequel connects the first two movies.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is -- a prequel to both Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2 -- attempts to explain the events that led up to the terrors in those two movies. Like the others, it's told in fake documentary style, mostly via surveillance camera footage. The scary stuff is left largely to the imagination (and there's a near-constant sense of dread as a result), though this movie has a little more on-screen violence than the previous films did: An invisible force terrorizes two young girls, lifting one up by the hair and dragging her across the floor. Language is strong but not frequent and includes many uses of "f--k" and "s--t." A loving couple attempts to tape themselves having sex, though they only get as far as some foreplay, with clothes on. They also smoke pot.

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence, both implied and shown. Which kind is more powerful? Why?
  • How scary was the movie? What scared you most, and why?
  • What would be the effect of constantly filming your life?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: In these movies, bad things can suddenly start happening to good people, simply because a past relative did something bad.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Of the men in this series, Dennis is by far the most admirable. He really loves Julie and takes care of her daughters from a previous marriage as if they were his own. He's responsible and works hard to solve problems.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: There's perhaps slightly more violence in this movie than in the previous two; in a couple of scenes, an invisible force attacks a young girl, lifting her up by the hair or dragging her across the floor. An unseen force also snaps a character's spine. There's a teeny bit of blood (a scratch). Otherwise, the violence is mostly suggested, and the movie has an almost constant feeling of dread.

  • sex false3

    Sex: An adult couple decides to videotape themselves having sex. They both wear T-shirts and underwear. They kiss and begin some foreplay, but they're interrupted. Also additional kissing and lots of "I love yous."

  • language false4

    Language: "F--k" is heard perhaps a dozen times, with "s--t" coming in a close second. "Oh my God" and "goddamn" are also used.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: A box of Rice Krispies is visible in one shot.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The grown-up couple smokes some pot and gets high; the mother mentions that it's illegal and that she doesn't want her daughters to know.